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Facing the Mortgage Crisis Blog Will No Longer Be Updated

12. September 2011

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The blog will remain online as a resource but our team of experts will no longer be answering questions here. If you don’t find the help you need in this archive, you can find a list of non-profit organizations that can help with mortgage problems here. Click here to see a list by county.

You can find quick answers to frequently asked questions here.

You can access a series of helpful expert interviews, on foreclosure, short sales, rescue scams and refinancing here.

You can also connect to a counselor through United Way Housing, healthcare, family needs, financial counseling and emergency services by dialing 211.

We’d like to thank all of the non-profit organizations who have participated here and helped to make this blog a valuable community resource.

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29. November 2010


No Cost Help During America’s Foreclosure Crisis

When: Saturday December 4, 2010 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

When: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church 1100 South Center Street in Santa Ana, California

What: In the midst of the housing foreclosure crisis, New America Media (NAM) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire, Inc (NHIE) and NeighborWorks are organizing a “Free Foreclosure Prevention Workshop” offering detailed information for homeowners who are in foreclosure now or worried about it in the future.

Attendees can share stories with journalists and the media about the foreclosure crisis and get answers to their questions from housing counselors. Also scheduled is a selection of informational seminars about surviving the crisis covering topics including “Am I A Victim of Fraud,” “Can My Home Be Saved From Foreclosure,” and “Should I Talk To my Lender.”

Attendees should bring copies of the following documents to the workshop: a NHSIE Loan Modification Initial Packet, one month of paycheck stubs, two months of bank statements, a recent mortgage statement, a hardship letter, two years of your signed tax returns, one month of utility bills, your home mortgage deed and note.

Admission is free, food and refreshments provided at no-cost.

Some translation service will be available.

Public contact: To RSVP please call 951-530-1549.

Organizers: New America Media (NAM), based in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, organizes the nation’s first and largest network of ethnic news services. Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM works tirelessly to get stories about and from African-, Asian-, South Asian-, Caribbean-, Indigenous-, Middle Eastern-, and Latino-American communities out to the mainstream media as well to more than 2,500 ethnic news outlets. NAM’s editor and journalists have won numerous awards and accolades for their reporting efforts. More information is available at

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information is available at

Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire is a HUD approved non-profit organization that assists distressed homeowners in preserving their home. NHSIE is hosting various Foreclosure Intervention Orientations in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in efforts to assist, better, and preserve communities.

NeighborWorks is the country’s preeminent leader in affordable housing and community development, working to create opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe, sustainable neighborhoods that are healthy places for families to grow. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NeighborWorks operates through a national office and eight regional field offices.

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NEW Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program

1. June 2010

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Today, June 1, 2010, Fannie Mae released Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2010-07: Introduction of Fannie Mae’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program. The announcement provides an overview of the Fannie Mae Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), which, is designed to mitigate the impact of foreclosures on borrowers who are eligible for a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), but ultimately were unsuccessful in obtaining one.

From the Fannie Mae Website:

“Fannie Mae’s HAFA provides financial incentives to servicers and borrowers who utilize a short sale or a deed-in-lieu (DIL) of foreclosure to avoid a foreclosure on eligible loans, which helps preserve the condition and value of the property by minimizing the time a property is vacant and subject to vandalism and deterioration.

The effective implementation date is August 1, 2010; however, servicers are encouraged to implement the Fannie Mae HAFA earlier than that date.
HAFA Program Summary

The Fannie Mae HAFA program simplifies and streamlines the use of short or “preforeclosure” sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL) options by incorporating the following unique features:
Complements HAMP by providing alternatives for borrowers who are HAMP eligible (including borrowers facing imminent default);
Utilizes verified borrower financial and hardship information collected in conjunction with HAMP, eliminating the need for additional eligibility analysis;
Allows the borrower to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing;
Prohibits the servicer from requiring, as a condition of approving the short sale, a reduction in the real estate commission agreed upon in the listing agreement;
Releases the successful HAFA borrower from future liability for the debt;
Uses standard processes, documents, and timeframes;
Provides financial incentives to borrowers, servicers and subordinate lienholders.”

For complete information click here.

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Tenants Facing Foreclosure

13. April 2010

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It is estimated that about 20% of the homes going into foreclosure are rental properties so many victims of the Mortgage Crisis are tenants. They aren’t getting much sympathy from the banks or their property management companies. Instead renters are being handed eviction notices.

If this has happened to you or someone you know, keep in mind that many California cities, Like Oakland, have laws that can stop evictions. You can get free legal advice from your local Legal Aid Society.

Here are a few tips from our partners at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo.

Click here for a list of other community resources you can tap for help with the Mortgage Crisis.

Here’s a link to a handy state publication detailing the rules for both tenants and landlords.

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Free Foreclosure Resource Fair

6. April 2010


Saturday June, 12 home owners and renters can get information about the Making Home Affordable and the City of Menlo Park Foreclosure Prevention programs at a free Resource Fair.

 Meet one-on-one with a HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss
your options to avoid foreclosure.
 Meet one-on-one with a lender to talk about how to better manage your monthly mortgage
 Get information and assistance on President Barack Obama’s Making Home Affordable Program™
and the City of Menlo Park’s Foreclosure Prevention Program.
 Learn all about your legal rights.
 Bring copies of all necessary mortgage and financial documents to the Foreclosure Resource Fair.

The fair will take place in the Burgess Recreation Center at 701 Laurel street, Menlo Park, CA.
For more information, please call (650) 328-1890.
Sponsored by the Office of Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson

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Lease to Own - is it an Option to Foreclosure?

1. April 2010


Recently I got a question, via email, asking if “lease to own” was emerging as an option to a foreclosure. I asked our experts to weigh-in. Here’s what they had to say:

Yes it is an emerging alternate strategy. Read the fine print very carefully. The most important thing for the prospective lessee/buyer is that the lease payments be close to what the future mortgage payment wd be, including PITI, and that the language around what happened to their deposit is clear and unambiguous. Is it non-refundable? If not, under what circumstances do they get it back, and how much of it do they get back?

What’s the lease term? 3 yrs? 5 years? What will be the future sales price? Interest rate? What

-–Sheri Powers, JD, MA, Homeownership Center Director, The Unity Council

A lease with an option to purchase real property is not a novel concept. But you need to review the terms of the option carefully and make sure you are dealing with a reputable seller. We have received a complaint at the District Attorney’s Office in which the consumer entered into a
lease with an option to purchase the property at a future date but after making several monthly payments the consumer discovered that the property was in foreclosure as the owner to whom he or she was making the payments was not paying the mortgage on the property.

- Duane Shewaga, Paralegal, Real Estate Fraud Unit, Office of the District Attorney, County of Santa Clara

Yes it is an emerging trend and there are different variations. One program is the Fannie Mae deed-for-lease program where the lender becomes the owner and leases the property back to family who was facing foreclosure. This would normally follow a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure agreement. The lender keeps their property occupied and receives rental income and the family does not need to secure new housing and can usually make more affordable payments.
- Michael Nord, CCCSSF

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Forensic Loan Audits—What Are They? Should I Pay For One?

8. March 2010


This is a guest post from our partners at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland.

Forensic Loan Audits—What Are They? Should I Pay For One?
A “forensic loan audit” is a term that is being used to refer to someone looking over a homeowner’s loan documents in order to determine whether there is anything legally wrong with the loan. Companies and individuals that advertise this service promise to provide a written report of these legal violations, and that report is supposed to help the homeowner get a better loan modification or find an attorney who will file a lawsuit on behalf of the homeowner.

The problems with these audits are:

(1) The audits are frequently poorly done, with very little information in the audit report about what was wrong with your loan. The audit reports usually have a lot of canned, standard language that appears to be cut and past from one report to another and does not help you, the homeowner, very much.

(2) Audits are not always performed by attorneys, or the attorney involved does not have much experience in the area of mortgages, consumer rights, or mortgage fraud. As a result, the audit report can be inaccurate and a complete waste of money.

(3) Showing an audit report to a mortgage lender or servicer is not usually enough to get a loan modification. If you have real legal problems with the loan, you will need an attorney who is willing to work with you for the weeks and perhaps months it will take to get a positive outcome.

(4) Some legal problems with documents are not strong enough to pressure a lender or servicer into providing a loan modification. The people who prepare audit reports do not tell you that.

(5) Forensic loan audits are expensive – $1500 and more.

(6) You may be able to get legal assistance for free from Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) at 510 271-8443. Call for intake hours.

(7) You can get FREE LOAN MODIFICATION ASSISTANCE from HUD-certified housing counseling agencies. Visit HUD’s website to find the offices closest to you, at

One more thing: This past year, a new law was passed in California that prohibits anyone – including attorneys, realtors and brokers—from charging or collecting any money from consumers for loan modification work until that work has been completed. If the forensic loan audit is being offered as a way to help you get a better modification, then the person or company offering this service cannot charge you money up front for this service.

For a list of places you can complain to if you have been defrauded, visit the following website of the California Department of Real Estate:

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San Mateo Still Haunted by Lehman’s Ghost.

24. February 2010


The Wall Street Journal reports, “Dozens of cities and counties around the country, from Sarasota, Fla., to Boulder, Colo., lost a total of $1.7 billion when Lehman Brothers went under, because they held Lehman bonds or other securities. San Mateo County’s loss was the biggest of any municipality.”

“San Mateo saw $155 million evaporate when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in September 2008. On top of deep budget cuts brought on by California’s fiscal crisis, the loss on Lehman securities means San Mateo’s 735,000 residents are taking a hit.”

Read the full article here.

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President Obama’s Mortgage Aid Headed to California

22. February 2010

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This morning President Barack Obama announced a $75 billion mortgage relief plan for families that have “played by the rules.” This is one is one in a series of measures the president says will keep 9 million people from losing their homes. Here is a clip of his announcement this morning.

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Free Credit Seminar in Aptos

18. February 2010

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If your loan modification has been halted by a low credit score or a foreclosure has damaged your credit score, there are remedies. Learning about how your credit is rated will help you take steps toward improvement and avoid the kind of missteps that lead to a negative rating.

If you live in Santa Cruz County, you may want to attend a free credit score seminar being offered by Bay Federal Credit Union 6-7:30 p.m. next Wednesday (Feb. 24) at Cabrillo College Student Activity Center East Room 225, 6500 Soquel Drive. It’s free but you need to register in advance. Call 831-477-8427 or email

If you can’t attend, here’s a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s page on repairing your credit.

A word of caution-advertisements from companies making claims that they can “erase bad credit” or “create a new credit record” are usually scams so be careful. If you need assistance, look for a Non-profit credit counseling organization like Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Ventura County, San Jose. CCCS is a KTEH partner in the Facing the Mortgage Crisis initiative. They serve Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties and often answer questions on this blog on the “get expert advice” page.

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